Downtown Development

By Elizabeth Johnson

[Hammond, La.]- On Sept. 8, the Downtown Development District held a meeting to discuss new projects such as Take it to the Tracks and Hot August Night and new parking arrangements for downtown.

Take it to the Tracks is a monthly concert held in downtown Hammond to promote local artists.

“It brings people downtown that wouldn’t typically be here,” said Philip Nicaud, chairman of the DDD.

There is a committee set up to organize Take it to the Tracks for future months, but there are no sponsorships for it yet, and the committee is not willing to put out the $2,000 needed for each concert.

Nicaud believes that the committee needs a good, committed leader to make it work.

John Guerin, a council member, is also a part of this committee to jump start Take it to the Tracks. 
“We have a $13,000 budget set aside for Take it to the Tracks,” said Guerin. “But if we don’t have the support then it isn’t reasonable to continue it.”
A meeting was scheduled for Sept. 9 to discuss continuing Take it to the Tracks.
To kick off the new fiscal year, Hot August Night replaced a Take it to the Tracks concert in August.
“One thing I’m very pleased about is that we deposited $12,225 into our account, and that is just from Hot August Nights,” said Terry Lynn Smith, the executive director of the DDD.
The turnout for Hot August Night this year was the best turnout so far.
“10,000 people is incredible,” said Smith.
A contract between the DDD and AT&T, allowed people attending the events to park in the AT&T parking lot, but they are planning to build on the site, forcing the DDD to find parking elsewhere.
Hancock Bank is willing to help accommodate parking with the DDD and are currently negotiating the length of time that the lease will cover, which may be anywhere from 5-20 years.
For next year’s event, the committee proposed that the DDD request the city to close Charles Street due to the high turnout.
“I think that if they can close down Canal Street for parades, then we can do it too,” said board member Jeffery Cashe.
Starry November Night is the next event being planned for downtown Hammond.  The event will take place on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. Locals can enjoy wine tastings, live music by the Marine Corps Brass Band, horse and buggy rides, snow and Santa Claus.

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